The growth was underpinned by the bank’s business in loans and long-term savings products and lower expenses due to synergies from the merger with Bankia. This led to a rise in operating profit (+5.4%), and a reduction in loan-loss provisions (-23.2%) and other provisions (-37.7%).
The NPL ratio declined to 3.5% in the fourth quarter and the coverage ratio rose to 65%, following the fall of EUR 272 million in non-performing loans. The CET1 capital ratio was 13.4% and total liquid assets amounted to EUR 171.202 billion at 31 March.
A collective fund of EUR 214 million was set up in the first quarter to reflect the estimated impact of the change in the macroeconomic scenario due to the conflict in Ukraine.
Customer funds amounted to EUR 619.892 billion, stable in the quarter. New lending in mortgages and consumer credit in Spain improved 14% and 18% year-on-year, respectively, while new lending to SMEs increased 22%.
Gonzalo Gortázar, the bank’s CEO, said that “after having completed almost 90% of the branch integrations and planned employee departures, we can focus more and more on business growth”.